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The JOLTS report, or how secure you feel about your job

Dan Gorenstein Sep 9, 2014
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The JOLTS report is expected out later on Tuesday. That’s the Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey, for the uninitiated among us.

JOLTS is s a monthly report that gained some notoriety after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen started mentioning it when discussing the health of the labor economy. These monthly labor numbers are closely watched by the Fed because they show the rate of job openings in the U.S. against unemployment levels. 

The predictions: Many on Wall Street expect interest rates to rise if and when the Fed sees labor markets improve.

If you boil it down to what the report signifies, many argue JOLTS gauges how secure workers feel about the job market.

“I’m very happy at my current job, but if push came to shove, I’d feel very comfortable being able to get a job within two weeks to a month,” says Kansas City–based marketer Wayne Larson.

Sure, Larson sounds confident, but the 26-year-old actually doesn’t much trust the labor market, which is why, on top of his 9-to-5 job, Larson is networking.

“You know, sometimes my girlfriend asks, ‘Gosh, why are you always out there having coffee with somebody?'” he says. “It’s because you gotta do that.” 

Economist Dean Baker says you’ve got a strong economy when workers feel like they can quit tomorrow — minus the coffee sit-downs.

He says JOLTS data shows workers’ confidence still hasn’t returned to pre-Recession levels.

“You still have a very weak labor market, and what we really want to focus on is getting more jobs,” which Baker says means continuing to keep interest rates low.

Wayne Larson’s not up for debating economic theories.

He says he’s just going off a simple creed he’s learned from entering adulthood after the Recession. “If you’re not grinding, you’re not getting,” he says.

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